The ANC’s Regional Executive Committee has put forward the names of 11 people it believes are key to its mission to rescue Makana Municipality. This comes after ANC Provincial Executive Council Chairperson Oscar Mabuyane effectively snubbed local politicians during his visit to Makhanda (Grahamstown) on Monday 26 November, instead meeting with local activists and businesspeople.
It was widely anticipated that Monday would see Mabuyane announce a reshuffle of Makana Municipality’s political leadership. Rumours of a palace revolution followed a march by hundreds of residents last month and the handing over of a petition of more than 21 000 signatures calling for the Section 139 (1) (c) dissolution of the Makana Council.
Mabuyane, as MEC for Economic Development and Tourism, this week led a march to show support for rangers, private reserve owners and anti-rhino-poaching activists. Grocott’s Mail questioned him on rumours that his presence in Makhanda could herald political changes. Mabuyane confirmed the PEC was aware of the call for the dissolution of the Council, following citizens’ dissatisfaction with service delivery and administration in Makana.
“Well we are aware of what is [happening]here and we are going to arrest it as soon as possible. Indeed, we can’t blame people who are complaining, especially those [who should be receiving]services here.
“If the centre can’t hold, then a shift definitely. The governing party must look at that seriously because its about human beings who stay here.”
Mabuyane said there was an internal process within the organisation.
“It’s not an easy thing, I must say. We need national and provincial government working together to ensure that we capacitate this space.
”This is an international town by virtue of having an institution of Rhodes University’s calibre. So it’s important that we don’t just treat [the municipality] like any other institution. We can’t allow the thing that is going on here to continue unabated.”
As to whether there would be a reshuffle of the ANC’s local leadership, Mabuyane remained tight-lipped. “That’s an internal organisation process. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. But if it’s broken, we definitely need to fix it.”
The delegation Mabuyane later met included National Arts Festival CEO Tony Lankester, Grahamstown Business Forum Chairperson Richard Gaybba, Grahamstown Residents Association Secretary Tim Bull and Unemployed People’s Movement co-ordinator Ayanda Kota.
Commenting afterwards, Lankester said, “I thought it was a very necessary and constructive dialogue. As a business community we wanted to emphasise to him that there are people passionate about our City and who want to help…. and to be solutions oriented.
“I think we achieved that, and he committed to working with us to help rescue the City.”
Grocott’s Mail Thursday 29 November spoke to Regional Chairperson Scara Njadayi, who confirmed Mabuyane hadn’t met with local councillors, but dismissed the suggestion it was an overt snub.
“I exchanged notes with Mabuyane on Makana,” Njadayi said. “Mabuyane will meet with the caucus during the process that is now under way.”
Njadayi said the REC had recommended to the Province 11 people, five of whom are members of the current ANC caucus, to be deployed in Makana Municipality.
“These are people whom we believe will add value and assist where necessary – people with political, administrative and technical expertise.”
Whereas the deployment process normally required three names presented in order of priority, the REC had requested a diversion from this policy.
“We have submitted a wide range of names,” Njadayi said. “And in no particular order, for the PEC to consider. We want to explore options. Remember, this intervention is to salvage the situation in Makana.”
Njadayi confirmed that for outside people to be deployed would require that there be a vacancy in the Makana Council. It has 26 councillors, with one vacancy after the death of EFF councillor Nomakwezi Mtwa yet to be declared. The ANC has 17 seats, the DA 8 and the EFF two.
“Yes, that means some of those inside must resign,” Njadayi said.